Thursday, August 18, 2016

Submit your complaints here.

On Monday, I took the kids on our final summer adventure before school started. Here's the short version.

Train Parking: $3
Train ride to the city: $18
Metro ride in the city: $5
Historic Streetcar ride: $5
Peet's Coffee: $4.30
World Famous Cable Car ride: $14
Three toy cable cars and two postcards from the Cable Car Museum: $27
Two pressed pennies: $1.02
Steps taken carting around three children on a train adventure: 9,668

Arriving home and having your kid complain, "BUT WE DIDN'T GET ANY PLAY TIME THIS MORNING."


Monday, August 15, 2016

Our Family Motto

I really, really, really wanted our family motto to be "Don't be a Dick." It really just encompasses everything I want from my children and it applies in just about every possible annoying situation that you might encounter in life.

  • Running around the grocery store while mom is trying to buy things to feed you with? Don't be a dick.
  • Left your dirty underwear on the floor? Don't be a dick.
  • Fighting with your brother while mom is cooking dinner? Don't. Be. A. Dick.

It's perfect. Pretty much all the time.

Except, I really didn't want my children walking around saying the word dick all the time because you know they are going to whip that out in front of grandma or during church. (C'mon guys. Cursing in church? Don't be a dick.)

So we ended up with a slightly more positive, family-friendly motto, which is "Make someone else's job easier." It's growing on me.

It's not as versatile as my first motto, but I suppose it conveys a slightly better message. Instead of teaching my kids what not to do, it encourages them to do something, mainly show kindness to another human being. And boy, is this world in short supply of kindness, or what?

A few months ago we were on a parenting reform binge. (You know, when one of your children does something that makes you wonder where you went wrong with them and you vow get those unruly monsters turned around like little Von Trapps who respond to whistle commands?) Well, we were particularly focused on "make someone else's job easier" and something beautiful happened. My three year old son stopped in the grocery store to pick up some items that had fallen off a display and put them back where they belonged. He looked at me excitedly and said "We're making someone else's job easier!" I was so proud. At three, they don't often do the right thing without a little encouragement. It was beautiful to see him do something, even if it was small, to make the world a better place.

This week I finally got around to framing it and putting it up on the wall in our kitchen. I made two versions, but hubby and I both agreed we liked the original best. Our kitchen is yellow and there was a perfect spot to put it below the kitchen clock.

Like our motto? Download the Lemon version or the Wreath version free!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Balancing Act

You may have noticed that I have been rather absent around here lately. Last spring I was offered a small contract job working for my "before kids" employer and any free time I had to write was immediately swallowed up by the 6-8 hours of squeezing in phone calls and emails between diapers and school pick up. When summer came the prospect of trying to squeeze those things in with all three kids at home seemed impossible so I gave my notice and prepared for the whirlwind of summer.

Summer. It's hard to believe that next week I will return to the hustle and bustle of getting out the door with everyone dressed and fed by 7:45 am. Everyone around me seems more than ready to embrace the "freedom" of children in school and quiet mornings when they can hear their own thoughts. With Buttercup at home full time that won't be my reality and perhaps that is part of the hesitation I feel about the start of school. I'm not looking forward to rushing around town in time for two different drop offs and pick ups, packing lunches, homework, sports, PTA meetings, parties and strict schedules. I have enjoyed the relatively unscheduled chaos that happens on summer days in our household. My boys, at four and almost six are excellent big brothers; I feel like the eyes in the back of my head have gotten a break as Buttercup has been under the watchful eye of her brothers. They make sure she doesn't get into the choking-hazard Legos or go up the stairs of the bunk beds. They help her wash her hands and face after breakfast and clear her place. They provide endless entertainment with all their shenanigans and I think we will both miss them next week. This been my BEST summer yet, filled with a perfect blend of museums, adventures, parks and biking balanced with staying in our jammies all morning, reading books and entertaining ourselves.

After such a fun filled summer with all the kids, I've found myself wondering what I'm going to do with one kid for the next 10 months. Hopefully a deep cleaning on my house. Maybe a new exercise routine to shed all the summer beer and ice cream pounds I've put on. Perhaps some more gainful employment? I've been thinking about going back to work a lot lately and I have mixed feelings about it. Doing all the cooking, cleaning and child rearing I do now AND working seems like it might be too much and yet the financial freedom of additional income is so appealing. Using my brain for something other than mentally doubling my pancake recipe seems dreamy. But I'm not ready to give up my summers. I really enjoyed the contract job I did last year but I also remember struggling with the juggling. I've mastered the art of summer but I've yet to find the perfect balance of work and family. I suppose that's a balancing act that's going to take a lot more practice.